Dem: Put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezDemocrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents DHS to make migrants wait in Mexico while asylum claims processed MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday outlined his argument for Harriet Tubman becoming the new face of the $20 bill. 

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"I am not saying that President Andrew Jackson or any of the men we honor on our money are not worthy," Gutierrez said in a House floor speech.

But, the Illinois Democrat argued, Tubman was a major figure in American history who deserves the honor of having her image on the $20 bill.

"She was an agitator.  She was a subversive.  She used the tools of social change to improve America.  She fought for the little guy against the strong guy.  And she was willing to put herself at great risk to ensure the justice for others. And she was a woman and she was black. In other words, she is an ideal American," Gutierrez said while standing beside a poster demonstrating what the $20 bill would look like with Tubman's image.

Tubman recently won an online poll sponsored by the "Women on 20s" campaign to feature a woman on the $20 bill to replace Jackson. The Civil War abolitionist edged out Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller. 

Gutierrez has introduced legislation alongside Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that would direct the Treasury secretary to establish a commission to gather public input and recommend a woman's portrait to appear on the $20 bill. Proponents of adding a woman to American paper currency prefer the $20 bill because it is the most widely used.

Gutierrez predicted that Americans will eventually question why men have dominated images on American dollar bills.

"In a few years, maybe in a few months, we will all wonder why it took so long to put an American woman on our $20 bill," Gutierrez said. 

Currently, all dollar bills feature white male historical figures. The bills display Presidents George Washington ($1), Thomas Jefferson ($2), Abraham Lincoln ($5), Andrew Jackson ($20), Ulysses S. Grant ($50), William McKinley ($500), Grover Cleveland ($1,000), James Madison ($5,000) and Woodrow Wilson ($100,000), as well as Alexander Hamilton ($10), Benjamin Franklin ($100), and Salmon P. Chase ($10,000).